Stanford Korean Students Association (KSA) and Stanford Asian American Activism Committee (SAAAC) generously hosted NKSC for a discussion panel looking at the intersection of human rights and technology, paying particular attention to the role of ICT in improving conditions in North Korea.
Nearly 25 million North Koreans are subject to the most intense censorship and information controls in the world – a state of repression that further exacerbates the abysmal state of human rights in North Korea. Prohibited form using the Internet, accessing foreign media or engaging in free exchange with the outside world, North Koreans are deliberately kept in a state of impoverishment – both in economic terms and intellectual – by a totalitarian regime that places its own self-preservation before the needs of North Koreans themselves.
Technology, Information and Human Rights: Transforming North Korea, at Stanford University September 22nd 2015. Image credit: Dongpo News
Increased knowledge and access to independent information is crucial to accelerating societal progress in North Korea and the protection of human rights. Since 2007, NKSC has worked to improve everyday North Koreans’ access to independent information about the world around us, and North Korea itself. Sensitive to the complex and unique challenges that face North Koreans, NKSC partners the experience of our defector leadership with technologists and human rights organizations to continuously evolve information access strategies.
Sejun Park, Kang Cheol Hwan, Alex Gladstein , Jim Fruchterman and Danny O’Brien during the Q&A. Image credit: Yonhap News.
This event invited the Stanford student community to actively interrogate and collaborate; to consider new ICT strategies to achieve improved human rights in North Korea. Through discussion with North Korean defectors and technologists as well as exploration of country and technology case studies, participants gained a deeper understanding of the current state of human rights, ICT and media in North Korea, as well as the possibilities for realizing a free and open North Korea.
Technology, Information and Human Rights: Transforming North Korea. Image credit: Yonhap News.
We would like to thank Peter Moon, Jonathan Hongsoon Kim, the Stanford Korean Students Association, Stanford Asian American Activism Committee and our fantastic speakers: Danny O’Brien (Electronic Frontier Foundation), Alex Gladstein (Human Rights Foundation) and Jim Fruchterman (Benetech).